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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thin Bashing

It’s an undeniable fact: a lot of fat people hate skinny people. Are we just as guilty of discrimination and prejudice as they are? Do we pre-judge people on appearance alone, just as we are judged? You bet your ass we do.

Being at the other end of the spectrum, I have to admit I haven’t given “thin prejudice” much thought at all. The more I do think about it, the more I realize how pervasive it really is.

Do I care? I’m not going to lie. I can’t say my heart bleeds for thin people who get hassled for how they look. Do I care when some anorexic model gets criticized and joked about for how her bones stick out of her body? Honestly, no. I know it’s wrong … but when I think about it, I’m tempted to say (like a lot of large people out there): “So what? It’s about time they take some flak for how they look and get to be on the receiving end of that kind of abuse.” Maybe that is doubly true for chronic fat haters and fat abusers. I certainly don’t give a shit if someone calls a skinny fat basher a twerpy pipsqueaked asshole or a toothpick-brained bitch. But that’s doing genuinely nice people (who also happen to be thin) a disservice.

I’m old enough to remember those Charles Atlas ads in the back of the comic books. Do you remember them? The ad was designed as a comic strip of some really skinny guy sitting on the beach with his bikini-clad girlfriend. Some musclehead bully comes along and decides to humiliate and shame him, and perhaps try to steal the skinny guy’s girlfriend:

At the end, of course, the skinny guy goes to the gym, beefs up, punches the guy out, impresses the girlfriend, and no doubt gets laid regularly for the rest of his life. He has gotten his revenge. But of course he had to beef up and change the way he looked before he became successful. No, the message hasn’t changed, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, although we females get this shit shoved down our throats a lot more than men do.

What about the whole “bimbo” perception? A lot of people assume that if a woman is incredibly beautiful and has a dynamite body, then she’s a total idiot. It’s a stereotype. Yes, there are a lot of very attractive women with very little brains who have become extremely successful strictly because of their looks. (I didn’t say Kim Kardashian, did I?) But not every stereotypically gorgeous woman is a bimbo.

Think about names like pipsqueak, toothpick, skeleton, skinny-ass, no-ass, skinny bitch … are they any less offensive than the names we get called? Of course not. But a lot of us feel justified in using them against thin people, even if they have never done a thing to us.

Sure, there are a lot of thin people out there who think they’re better than us simply because they’re thin. There are also a lot of thin people who are genuinely nice, sweet, friendly, and who are just as appalled by ignorance and prejudice as we are.

Meanness, bitterness, and ignorance is not restricted to size. Large people can be just as mean, bitter, and ignorant as the thin people who call them names.

Don’t assume that just because someone is thin that they are your enemy. You may find, once you drop your guard and your assumptions, that they are just as cool as you are, and a pretty wicked ally.


  1. I don't hate skinny people, and the very thin tend not to be considered "attractive" by mainstream society either, so I feel for them. I don't hate those who ARE considered pretty either although I do hate the fact that most people act like they are the only ones who deserve to be treated with any sort of kindness. I don't expect (and actually don't like) people to ogle me and act like I'm "hot" or "sexy," but I do expect to be treated with common decency and wonder why people think it's okay to treat a person they don't deem attractive in an awful way.

  2. Totally agreed, Faycin! It is repugnant to me that many people feel that only conventionally attractive people deserve to be treated with respect, admiration, and decency. It should be a given for everyone.